City's water pipe project proceeds

Thursday, June 21, 2007
Crew members from Midwest Trenchless Services fuse together two pieces of the new water main pipes at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. The pipe will travel from the Greencastle Water Plant to the courthouse square.

Work is underway with the extensive water line project that began June 1 and is expected to run until the end of August.

Midwest Trenchless Ser-vices from Grant, Mich., has been placing 10-inch fusable PVC piping inside the 12-inch, old water pipes by a fairly new process called sliplining.

The project started at the Greencastle Water Department located just north of the Putnam County Fairgrounds and will end at the courthouse square, said Greencastle Water Department Superintendent Terry Dale. This will include work along U.S. 231.

Job superintendent Ted Maynard said the contracting service just received the permit to work on the highway from the Indiana Department of Transportation Tuesday night.

He said the crews can now begin to work more throughout the days, and could start work around the highway around Monday. He didn't see any reason why they would not be finished by their deadline in August.

Monday night, the crew moved to the southwest side of the fairgrounds and stayed up all night capping off the new piping by Windy Hill Golf Course, Dale said. This was done so people and businesses in the area could have a water supply.

Wednesday, the workers continued to feed the new piping through the old piping that dates back to the late 19th century. This is done by first running metal rods through the old pipes. Then once the rods have traveled through part of the old piping, they attach one end of those rods to the fused-together new pipes.

Finally, they pull the rods and the new piping back through.

Maynard said this takes hours because they do not want to stress anything.

The work also involves digging large holes in the ground, but Maynard said this is only done in areas where the piping has to be fed through.

The crew tries to lay as much new piping as possible in one run. If they hit areas along the existing pipes that have severe angles, a valve, or is a "T", they have to dig new holes.

Contractor Troy Freed expects there will be minimal digging throughout the entire process. But Maynard said he was unsure about some areas around the highway.

Marked by blue lines along the highway shoulder, the water pipes under the road are mostly off to the west side. But crews discovered that by the railroad tracks, the pipe crosses over to the other side.

INDOT does not want the highway to be dug up, and that's why it went with the sliplining process, Maynard said.

"It is a difficult project since they're going through a state highway," Dale agreed.

Once the pipes are laid, the crew then has to begin another tedious process where the pipes and water are tested for sanitization, Maynard said.

This is done by first flushing chlorinated water through the pipes to kill the bacteria. Then water is pumped through at a certain pressure to test the fused areas of the pipes for accuracy. Finally, water samples from the new pipes are sent to Terre Haute for testing.

Maynard said this process is done over a 24-hour period and includes a lot of waiting.

But although there could be unforeseen obstacles in the future, Dale, Freed and Maynard are so far content with the progress.

Midwest Trenchless Services will continue laying the new water line pipes up until the week prior to the fair (July 13-19). Work will then continue after the fair concludes.

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